things returned to normal for the timbers yesterday as weekly training resumed following the cup victory. which is good to see, because as much as they have given the supporters and themselves a hardy reason to feel good going into the offseason they do still have work to do. i hate to diminish the accomplishment of last weekend, but other than showing they can win on the road the timbers have done little to change their course for this season or even next. that work begins in a week. but for now, the timbers have one match remaining and the timbers could do worse in their attempts to propel them into the next season by earning a result this saturday. and the interim manager has acknowledged the need to maintain their focus:
It is important that we go into this San Jose game expressing ourselves as we did in Vancouver, fighting for ninety minutes and working extremely hard.
one negative result from sunday night, if winning a cup could have a negative, was the probable loss of hanyer mosquera for the match against san jose. he suffered the ever dreaded tight it band, which is not to be confused with that band, or the band, but the it band is quite a popular fella these days. given i have never heard of the it band i had to do some research. what i discovered is shocking. the it band is medically known as the iliotibial band that connects to the knee and the hip joint. injuries to it often occur from running, which results in thickening of the tendon and is described as itbs syndrome. now, itbs is a closely related to ibs, and anyone who has ingested a large plate of lentils will tell you that ibs is rather painful, so i would imagine itbs is a beast of an affliction. hopefully hanyer was pulled form the match sunday as a precaution rather than the result of season ending injury.
unfortunately, if the timbers are to face san jose without hanyer mosquera they also will be without eric brunner. as we know, brunner stepped in for mosquera at the 46 minute to relieve the big colombian. but as has been the case for his career with the timbers brunner took a knock on his ankle. whether a testament to his committment to the timbers or his ability to withstand waterboarding and other tortures in abu ghraib (i am likely to believe the former), brunner played through his injury. regardless of his powers to withstand the rack, brunner was the last of the regular center-halfs available to the timbers as futty has also been put on the shelf for next season. gavin instructed the media that
Futty went in for surgery [monday], Eric Brunner has gone in for surgery [tuesday], and that will be coming out his afternoon, more details about that through our department. It is a matter of getting these players healthy, getting them ready for a hard off-season. It is surgeries that we do need to get out of the way very, very quickly.
this might suggest that both of the injured center-halfs have futures with the club next season, but i will not seek to discuss who will and will not be with the club until after the current season has finished. but more pressing than the recovery and extended presence of the two center-halfs is the prospect that the timbers must face steven lenhart, alan gordon, and chris wondolowski without them. sure, it is but one game, the final game, but the timbers have already rolled over in one game this month and have perfected the art of playing poorly, so that experiment is not something that requires further analysis.
another hypothesis that deserves experimentation is that the timbers can win consecutive matches--something that has not been accomplished all season and not since august of last year when the timbers defeated sporting kc and then vancouver at home. obviously, though the timbers have shown well against san jose this season, the objective is difficult. the last time around saw the timbers concede two late goals to pad chris wondolowski's already hefty goal tally. as much as i would like to say that result was anomalous it is more consistent with the season than last sunday's shutout against vancouver. obviously this presents great concern given the issues now present with the defense. it is likely ricketts will see another unfamiliar back four. what could go wrong there?
likely we will see andrew jean-baptiste step onto the pitch with the senior squad for the first time since april 7. gavin recently admitted to getting the philosophy for the last two years wrong, which would suggest ajb's lack of playing time is not due to his abilities but his age. after all, the kid is just 20 years old. this is a perfect game for him to show his abilities--final game of season, very little riding on the outcome, and against the best team in major league soccer.
at any rate, the joy of winning the cup has taken the edge off, which means i will refrain from discussing some of the tasty bits gavin gave us the last few days. you should expect a rant soonish.
have a great day.